Why Is This Important?
If you are an e-commerce seller who is currently struggling to deal with high inventory costs or have an inability to move products out of your warehouse, then turning to dropshipping could be the perfect solution. Are you aware that you can forego the hassle of dealing with logistics and just integrate a model that grants you far less liability? For a more in-depth look at this check out my last article.
Should you choose to adopt dropshipping into your business practices, then you likely are curious where to start! Below I have carefully outlined the steps you must take in order to find the right suppliers, open accounts, and establish the important relationships necessary to thrive.
Finding the Right Supplier for YOU!
There are a number of ways to find drop ship suppliers:
Subscribe to a Directory: While there are a lot of drop shipping directories online, many of them are low-quality and provide little value. However, there are some legitimate directories, and the one I recommend is World Wide Brands. Their directory offers access to a searchable database of thousands of pre-screened drop shipping companies:
Contact the Manufacturer: If you know which product you want to sell, the manufacturer should be able to point you to authorized distributors of their who may also may be willing to drop ship.
Search on Google: When searching in Google, make sure to dig deep! Wholesale dropshippers are notoriously bad at marketing and you’ll likely have to dig through 5 to 10 pages of irrelevant or spammy listings before you come across a legitimate drop shipper.
If you do find a drop ship supplier you are interested in, then CALL them. Speaking on the phone as little as one time should make it much easier to get through to the right person rather than via email. This is simply the best way to get what you want approved. It proves that you are a legitimate operation and adds a personal flair.
You’ll likely encounter these fees with dropshippers:
Per Order Fee: It’s common for drop shippers to charge a per-order fee to cover the expense involved with packaging and shipping an individual product. These fees are usually in the $2 to $5 range, although they can be higher for items that are extremely large or difficult to process.
Monthly Fees: Some may try to charge you an ongoing monthly fee for the privilege of doing business with them. Most of the time, this is an indication of a poor quality and/or “fake” drop shipper. Very few legitimate drop shipping wholesalers will require you to pay an ongoing fee, and you should be wary if they ask you to.
Purchasing Minimums: Some legitimate dropshippers may require a minimum purchase size, either for your first order or on a monthly basis. If you don’t meet these sales threshold, they’ll charge you a fee. They do this to filter out non-serious business owners who will likely be more trouble than they are worth.
Furthermore, keep track and be sure you are aware of which suppliers are doing the best job for you as you progress. If you notice that a particular supplier is slipping up on orders, not using the delivery method you’ve chosen, shipping faulty products, etc., be quick to part ways with them.
There are THOUSANDS of other options out there and you should not waste time trying to deal with one that isn’t meeting your expectations. Many suppliers sell similar products, allowing you to sometimes even sell the exact same product but from another manufacturer.
What is the difference between a manufacturer, a wholesaler, and a drop shipper?
A manufacturer is the actual builder of a product.
A wholesaler is anyone who buys directly from the manufacturer and resells to retailers at discount wholesale prices.
A drop shipper is anyone who will ship a product for you directly to your customer.
So, it’s possible for both a manufacturer and a wholesaler to be a drop shipper. If you find a manufacturer who is willing to ship their products directly to customers for you (rare), they will be acting as a drop shipper. Similarly, any wholesale distributor who will ship to your customers directly on your behalf is a drop shipper.
How do I know what products to sell?
There is a LOT you need to consider when picking a niche! Researching and understanding market demand, pricing, competition, available suppliers and the value you can add are all critical to the process. I cannot recommend exact products for you to sell, but you must take into account a variety of factors.
Anything that is not mass merchandised can be drop shipped if you can find the right supplier (and those you will not find advertising on internet as a drop shipper). If Walmart offers 3 variations on something, I should offer 50. If you want the other 47 variations, you come to me and pay my prices. This happens across many categories.
Notice how many people who want to drop ship ask questions like “What’s the best selling item, so I can drop ship it too”?
This is the wrong question to ask, the best selling items are the ones where you will get crushed by Amazon and Walmart.
If you are a small fish, you want your own eco-system where you live, not out in the sea competing with sharks and whales. You don’t want to be competing with every single mass merchant and 100,000 other people who’re all trying to sell the best selling items.